Using a MIDI file with VSTi

Using a MIDI file with VSTi

May 31, 2009
in Category: production, tutorials
0 6420 0

This Tutorial will show you how to import a MIDI file into Sonar 4, route the tracks to VST instruments, add audio effects, automation and custom fades. This technique applies to older versions of Sonar, Cakewalk and just about any other software.

upon Sonar 4, unless you have a MIDI device connected to your computer already, you will get this message. Don’t worry, because we are routing the MIDI internally. You would use this window if you wanted to play the MIDI back through an external device like a keyboard or a rackmount synth module.

Here we will just create a new project.

There are lots of presets for certain types of projects, but for now we’ll pick Normal.

This is the MIDI file I decided to use. It’s from an old NES game, and I found it on a public webpage. Just right click the link and select Save Link As (or Save Target As)

after saving the file, go back to Sonar and Import the MIDI you just saved (or a MIDI you already have somewhere).

After importing, this is what we have. For this MIDI File there are 4 tracks with MIDI notes. The first two are the same melody, only one is a little later than the other for a reverb effect. We are going to put in our own reverb to the audio output, so I will delete the echo track. Both bass tracks are the same, so I will delete one of those. That leaves us with 2 tracks.

Now we have MIDI notes, but if you hit play you won’t hear anything. We need to send these notes somewhere. Insert a DXi Synth from the file menu. From there you may select VST instruments installed on your computer.

Make your options like they are above.

now on the melody (first) MIDI track, click on the output option, and select the VSTi / DXi you just added. In this case its Revitar 1.2.1 (I added Dream Station DXi that comes with Sonar for the Bass Track)

Now, you can play the project and listen to how the melody will sound. Go through all the presets, and edit your own sounds if you want. I mentioned we would be adding our own reverb, so for this example I will use the Waves RVerb plugin. (You add an audio effect by selecting the DXi channel, and right clicking where it says “FX: None”)

The reverb I selected is a little heavy, and I want to add some life to it so I will add an envelope to the effect. Right click where the star is pictured, select Envelopes, then at the bottom, click on the effect you are using.

Here are the dynamic settings for this particular plugin. I am only going to edit the Wet-Dry ratio, so I can add and remove the amount of reverb that goes to the final mix.

To add a node, just right click anywhere on the envelope line, and select “Add Node”

After adding all the nodes, and setting the different points, you will have very straight and harsh lines. To smooth the lines (and therefore smoothing the effect) right click on a line segment and select the type of Curve you want.

If you hover the mouse pointer over any node, it will tell you the exact settings if that spot.

The track still needs drums. To make this easy, and to introduce another great feature of Sonar, lets add a drumloop in .wav format. First insert a new audio track to put the loop in.

Then Import the Audio

Once the .wav file shows up, right click on it and select “Groove-Clip Looping.” Afterwords your .wav file should have rounded edges.

Just click and drag the right edge of the file to loop the audio. It’s easy, and works just like Sony Acid Pro.

To fade audio, hover the mouse over the TOP CORNER of either left or right side of all the loops. The mouse pointer will turn into a triangle. Then just click and drag to edit the fade.

To adjust the fade to come in slow or fast, right click the end point of the fade (when the mouse pointer is a triangle)

We are almost done… for each of the DXi instruments you added, make sure you set the Outputs to “Master

Now just export the track as a .wav or .mp3

you will see a progress bar at the bottom of the screen as the track renders.

That’s It!

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